EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles Lakers have launched Junior Lakers, their youth basketball program, it was announced today at the inaugural Junior Lakers tournament at the Heart of Los Angeles Gym at Lafayette Park. Eight Los Angeles area Boys & Girls Clubs participated in the tournament, where they competed in front of friends and family and Lakers legend James Worthy.
Junior Lakers will allow the Lakers organization to work with Los Angeles youth to develop fundamental basketball skills, teamwork, sportsmanship and community involvement, with positive adult supervision.
“With Junior Lakers we hope to inspire kids’ interest in the game and teach them how to play the right way,” said Lakers Director of Community relations Jason McDevitt. “Obviously, we have a team of 15 that take the court for us during our NBA season, but we’re excited to now also have the Junior Lakers as our new teammates. We’re ready to work with these kids and coach them in a way where they can learn to succeed the Laker way, on and off the court.”
The Junior Lakers tournament is the culmination of a six-week Junior Lakers pilot program put on by the Lakers and the Lakers Youth Foundation. The pilot program began in April at the Lakers practice facility, where coaches from each club took part in a clinic with former Laker A.C. Green and the Positive Coaching Alliance. At the clinic, the coaches learned tips and drills to use over the course of the six weeks. Following the clinic, the coaches returned to their clubs with Junior Lakers coaching manuals in-hand and initiated weekly Junior Lakers practices.
During the six weeks, the Lakers partnered with Boys & Girls Club of America (BCGA), working with 500 boys and girls, ages 9-14, across eight different BGCA clubs in the L.A. area. The eight clubs that participated were: Challengers, Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Venice, Watts, Whittier, and West San Gabriel Valley. Lakers coaches stopped by each club during the program to assist with the practices. Each participating club was given a $1,000 grant to execute the programming, Junior Lakers jerseys, and special Lakers items from the Lakers Youth Foundation.
For more information on Junior Lakers visit the Junior Lakers website at Lakers.com/juniorlakers and follow @lakerscommunity on twitter and Instagram.